EU Wheat Slips Lower In Quiet Trade

EU wheat futures slipped to close slightly lower Friday on another day of quiet, low volume trade.

Paris January milling wheat closed down EUR0.25 at EUR141.25/tonne. London November feed wheat fell GBP0.20 to GBP91.00/tonne.

Prices appear to have halted their recent steep declines and, although the general trend is still lower, prices are declining in pence rather than pounds.

In the UK, winter wheat planting is 85% complete according to the HGCA. Whether anyone from the HGCA has been up north recently is unclear. Here, plenty of land will be left fallow as it’s just too heavy and wet.

OSR planting has fared even worse, with many fields looking “awful” one North Yorkshire agronomist said this week. “We only got in 60 to 70 per cent of what we hoped to get drilled and of those crops that are in, not all will make it through the winter. The slugs, rabbits and pigeons will take their toll on what is already a small crop. If it is a hard winter, many oilseed rape fields just won’t make it,” he concludes.

Elsewhere, the Argentine wheat crop is now around 5% harvested and is expected to produce a crop of around 10-11mmt, some 5-6mmt below last season. This is partly due to lower plantings and also reduced yield due to drought.

The Australian crop is also seen lower than originally hoped for. ABARE cut it's estimate this week to 19.9mmt, citing a 'lack of spring rain'. Although that is still around 7mmt up on 2007, it's 3-4mmt less than had been anticipated earlier in the year. Output in South Australia and Victoria is now seen at levels only comparable with last season's drought-ravaged crop.